You have heard (and read and seen on countless radio, TV, and newspaper ads) the phrase, “Home for the Holidays.” You are part of the elite group that approaches this time of year with the phrase, “Homeschooling during the Holidays!” For most parents, holidays involve a big change for families whose children attend traditional schools: Their children are home. Whereas, as homeschoolers, your children are already home for the holidays — and every other day! But, both situations bring changing dynamics to the table along with the Christmas cookies. We want to make your homeschool holiday season as fun and stress-free as possible. Check out these suggestions to see how.
There are almost as many holiday homeschooling ideas as there are families and items on my Christmas wish list! Our ideas are here to support your stress, and work for any holiday, not just Christmas. We have done the work to gather these strategies as a stress-relief gift for you.
First, before you try to build your holiday homeschooling plans, it’s important to understand that everyone does this time of year a little differently. Isn’t that freeing? Some families carry on as usual, opting to keep their routine and homeschooling schedule and “save” the days off for other times of the year. Another popular idea is to modify the lessons to fit the holidays. Think cookie baking math, the how a Christmas tree grows, and holiday traditions around the world. Some families choose to homeschool as usual for part of the day, then put aside all lessons and focus on something the kids might enjoy (and even suggest!) like baking, caroling, etc. One of our favorite options is to just take a break all together to enjoy the holiday. This lets the kids blow off steam, play, and do all things Christmas, which makes the season special and a highlight of the year.
Whatever you decide to do as you homeschool during the holidays, we want you to keep these simple suggestions in mind to make your holiday season merry and bright!
- Slow down. Homeschooling during the holidays should be an intentional time of family and fun. It’s OK to take some of your homeschooling time and energy and transfer it to holiday planning and preparations. You can keep the learning going despite the change in focus and extra work that holiday festivities involve. Schedule a test or two, assign a book to read, just concentrate on one or two core courses — there are plenty of ways to reinforce and apply the lessons your child has learned throughout the year. Besides, once the holiday hustle-and-bustle is over, you will have plenty of time to catch up!
- Use the season. As we said above, there are plenty of ways to apply your lessons while homeschooling during the holidays. Counting ornaments and measuring flour and liquids need number skills. Researching international holidays and traditions inspires the geography go-getter. Reading . . . Well, holiday books abound! HomeschoolLiterature.com has a list of free online Christmas books for all ages. And writing cards for shut-ins and soldiers qualifies as actual writing!
- Plan for the unplanned. Homeschooling is all about flexibility, and that should spill into real life. With all the activities and weather conditions and travel and stuff, something is bound to go wrong. If you expect the unexpected, you will minimize your disappointments and stress. Don’t believe you have to cram something into every minute and expect perfection. Maybe step away from Pinterest or schedule a few completely free hours during the day to ensure you’re able to take the hustle and bustle of holiday days as they come.
- Remember the reason for the season. Homeschooling during the holidays should be about more than just lessons or activities. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are about loved ones, faith, and memories. Those burned biscuits will be funny someday, and the unexpected guest may be more fun than you expected! Work on finding the best in each situation and each person, and carry that attitude beyond the holidays into every day. Remember the inspirational quotation, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” There is always something to be thankful for, and helping our kids to see that during this season may be the best gift we give them.
I hope these strategies for homeschooling during the holidays help you create a solid foundation that will help you to enjoy your season, your way. In our next post, we will provide you with fun, practical, and spirited activities to inspire you to build a beautiful season for your family. Until then, we’d love to hear how you homeschool during the holidays. What are your favorite traditions or stress management ideas?